GOP: We’ll Have Alternatives to Democrats’ Budget

For the last few budget cycles, Republicans in the General Assembly have put out their own spending plan, an alternative to what majority Democrats have proposed. While that may not happen this year, a leading Republican says they will soon put out at least some alternative ideas that will cut spending and shrink state government.

House Deputy Minority Leader Themis Klarides says there may not a full-blown, line item by line item Republican spending plan this year. “We’re in the process of deciding that now. We just got the [finance committee’s] budget last Friday. At the very least, we’ll have some ideas to start [the negotiations].”

Klarides has been vocal in criticizing the Democratic-controlled finance committee’s two-year spending plan. “Following the largest tax hike in state history, Democrats want to increase spending by almost 10%, blowing through the spending cap by over $1 billion, and creating four new agencies and offices…,” She said. “The pattern here is clear: spend, tax, borrow, repeat. Spend, tax, borrow, repeat.”

House Minority Larry Cafero and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, both potential gubernatorial candidates, have also blasted the spending plan.

But they have recently taken some heat for not issuing ideas of their own. Democratic State Party Chairman Nancy DiNardo issued a news release this past Sunday. “Larry Cafero and John McKinney refuse to offer an alternative solution. All they do is lob criticisms from the sidelines, sometimes via whiny press releases, other times sounding shrill at press conferences. But still no new ideas. You want to be governor? Take a stand. Make a tough decision. Risk angering people who disagree with you. Put solutions on the table,” she said.

Rep. Klarides, who is also the vice president of the state Republican Party, says those solutions will be forthcoming.

Meanwhile, there doesn’t seem to be anyone who likes Malloy’ budget as proposed. It relies heavily on borrowing to maintain services. Leaders of the state’s cities and towns don’t like it because although they will get at least as much funding as they do now, Malloy wants to change the formula possibly forcing municipalities to raise local property taxes.

Both Malloy and majority Democrats whack hospitals pretty good by cutting reimbursement for uncompensated care (care for those without insurance).

Advocates don’t like Malloy’s idea to cut health insurance for parents whose kids are on HUSKY. The governor says those folks will be covered by Obamacare.

The governor and Democrats have fiscal conservatives upset because they proposed redefining the constitutional spending cap, exempting more spending from the cap.